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THE LONG-AWAITED TELECOMMUNICATIONS BILL SWEEPS AWAY OLD BOUNDARIES. GET READY FOR A FREE-FOR-ALL

MAYBE IT WAS SHEER EXHAUSTION. The vast telecommunications bill had been lumbering through Congress for so long, tinkered with so many times, fought over by so many competing industry lobbyists that its passage last week--by an overwhelming margin in both the House and Senate--looked almost like a cry of surrender. How will the measure affect telephone service, cable TV, the networks? Who wins and who loses? Will consumers come out better or worse? Never mind, Congress seemed to say, let's just have done with it and see what the new world brings.

One thing is certain: it will bring changes as...

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